Who We Are
Explore Ecology is an environmental education nonprofit located in Santa Barbara, California. Explore Ecology educates over 38,000 children a year, inspiring them to engage with the natural world, think critically, and experience the value of environmental stewardship. Our programs combine art and ecology to foster creative thinking and connection between people and the environment. Explore Ecology empowers the next generation of environmental stewards in classrooms, on field trips, and in school gardens throughout Santa Barbara County.
Our programs include the Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store, the Watershed Resource Center, Environmental Education, and the School Gardens Program.
The mission of Explore Ecology is to promote a greater understanding of the connections between people and their environment and to encourage creative thinking through hands-on environmental education and artistic expression. We empower our community to protect and preserve the environment through environmental education and creative exploration.
The Explore Ecology Environmental Education program educates children at Art From Scrap, the Watershed Resource Center, and in classrooms and school gardens throughout Santa Barbara County. Explore Ecology in-class lessons and field trips are available for public and private schools, community youth groups, and camp programs.
The Explore Ecology School Gardens Program connects children to nature and teaches them how to grow their own organic food using the garden as an outdoor classroom.
The Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store keeps thousands of pounds of clean, reusable material from ending up in the Santa Barbara County landfill each year. All kinds of treasures, used and new, are donated by businesses and individuals. Art From Scrap provides low cost supplies for schools, art, theatre, and other creative community projects.
The Watershed Resource Center (WRC) is a community education center where community members can learn about watershed ecology and the importance of protecting our watersheds, creeks, and ocean. Monthly beach cleanups provide opportunities for volunteers of all ages to learn about local watersheds and ocean stewardship.
Coastal Cleanup Day for Santa Barbara County is coordinated by Explore Ecology and attracts thousands of volunteers annually at over 30 sites.
Explore Ecology’s Annual Environmental Stewardship Awards recognize teachers, school staff, and students who promote environmental stewardship through education and action, who initiate positive change, and inspire their peers and colleagues in Santa Barbara County.
History of Explore Ecology
Explore Ecology is the culmination of years of evolution from our original Art From Scrap program started in 1990 as a volunteer effort by a group of parents concerned about the lack of funding for art programs in the schools, Over the years, Art From Scrap’s programming expanded to include a Creative ReUse Store, a large Community Arts Program, and extensive Environmental Education and School Gardens Programs. After many years and a name change to Explore Ecology, we continue to educate our community through programs that combine environmental awareness and creative exploration.